Bitter Melon Fruit for Diabetes


Bitter Melon (karela)

Bitter Melon is one of the bitterest fruits known. It has a blood-glucose-lowering effect comparable to insulin.

Bitter Melon (Momordica chirantia) is also known as Bitter Gourd, Karela Fruit, Ampalaya, is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown for its edible fruit, which is among the most bitter of all vegetables. it is grown in South and Southeast Asia, China, Africa, and the Caribbean.

Bitter Melon has been used for generations because it has helped to prevent and couteract sugar diabetes, that is Type-II Diabetes (late onset diabetes).

Recent scientific studies at JIPMER, India, has proved that Bitter Melon increases insulin sensitivity. Another study in 2007 the Philippine Department of Health issued a circular stating that Bitter Melon (also known as Ampalaya) was regarded as a scientifically validated herbal medicinal plant that can lower elevated blood sugar levels. The study reveals that a dose of just 100mg per kilo of body weight per day is comparable to 2.5mg of the anti-diabetes drug Glibenclamide taken twice per day.

Insulin-like activity
Bitter Melon contains a lectin that has insulin-like activity. The insulin-like bioactivity of this lectin is due to its linking together of two insulin receptors. This lectin lowers blood glucose concentrations by acting on peripheral tissues and, similar to insulin’s effects in the brain, suppressing the appetite, thus helping to counter the weight-increasing effects so often found in diabetics due to the suppression of the metabolism. This specific lectin in Momordica chirantia is likely to be a major contributor to the blood-glucose-lowering effect that develops after taking a regular doses of the fruit tincture and why it may be a way of managing adult-onset diabetes.

Gurmarin, similar to bovine insulin
Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) is a herb that helps regulate blood sugar levels and keeps body functions operating normally. It contains Gurmarin, a polypeptide considered to be similar to bovine insulin, which has been shown in experimental studies to achieve a positive sugar regulating effect by suppressing the neural response to sweet taste stimuli. Karela’s principle constituents are lectins, charantin and momordicine. The fruits have long been used in India as a folk remedy for diabetes mellitus. Lectins from the bitter gourd have shown significant antilipolytic and lipogenic activities. The fruits and leaves of the plant contain two alkaloids, one of them being momordicine. The plant is reported to contain a glucoside, a saponin-like substance, a resin with an unpleasant taste, an aromatic volatile oil and a mucilage. The seeds contain an alkaloid (m.p. 236°) and an anthelmintic principle in the germ; they also contain urease.

Other medicinal uses
The fruits, leaves and extracts of Momordica charantia possess pharmacological properties and medicinal uses. It is useful as an emetic, purgative, in bilious affections, burning soles of the feet, as an anthelmentic, in piles, leprosy, jaundice, as a vermifuge, astringent in hemorrhoids, as a stomachic, antispasmodic, antioxytocic, hypoglycemic, antipyretic, mild hypotensive, anorectic and for the potentiation of ACh, histamine and BaCI2 induced contractions and inhibition of ACh of skeletal muscle.

Clinical Studies p-Insulin was tested in a controlled clinical trial. In juvenile diabetics, the peak hypoglycemic effect was observed after 1-8 hrs; in patients with maturity onset diabetes, maximum fall in blood sugar level was noted after 12 hrs. Karela or Bitter Melon has also been reported to show hypocholesteroemic activity.

It is not recommended to take this herb during pregnancy or during breast feeding.

Bitter melon is included in PancreasMore Tonic

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Other herbal medicines for Type 2 Diabetes or blood sugar highs and lows are (click for more information):

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